'Grey's Anatomy' Has Lost Cristina Yang, But Can The Show Survive Without Her?

Fans of 'Grey’s Anatomy' bid a sad farewell to Sandra Oh last week as Cristina Yang swapped Grey Sloan Memorial hospital for a shiny new home in Zurich. Oh's departure, although a happy end for the character, leaves the show with a seemingly unfillable void as it moves into its 11th season. Can 'Grey's' really survive without its most groundbreaking and loved character? But more importantly, can Meredith?

Sandra OhSandra Oh played Dr Cristina Yang for 10 seasons

Emotions have always ran high on 'Grey’s Anatomy', even when the cast aren't faced with a crazed gunman or a plane crash. But last week’s season 10 finale might have given us the toughest goodbye of them all. Yes unlike George, Lexie and Mark Sloan, Cristina Yang didn't meet a tragic end. Instead she saw her dreams come true, at the hands of none other than her ex fiancee Preston Burke.

Yang’s relationship with Burke, which ran until Isaiah Washington’s controversial season three departure, was one of the character’s defining moments. The determined and headstrong aspiring surgeon had always put her goals above any relationship, but her devotion to Burke threatened to jeopardise this. When Cristina was left sobbing in her wedding dress the first thing she said was “I’m free”, and she was, no matter how painful it felt at the time. She later moved on to marry, divorce and get back together with Dr Owen Hunt, but once again her devotion to her career would mean the relationship was doomed to failure.

More: Why Was Isaiah Washington Fired From 'Grey's Anatomy'?

It was how Cristina dealt with her heartbreaks which made her such a groundbreaking character. Yang was unapologetically goal driven, a woman who put her career above all else, sacrificing love in the process. But she knew that surgery would always be her one true love and the only real thing that would bring her happiness. When we saw her weather the heartbreaks, we too knew that her passion for surgery would mean she’d be ok in the end.

Isaiah Washington Grey's AnatomyIsaiah Washington returned for Cristina's farewell.

But Cristina’s departure isn't just a farewell to a much loved character, it also marks the end of one of television’s most important relationships. The friendship of the ‘twisted sisters’, Cristina and Meredith was, in many ways, the show’s backbone. They supported each other, fought with each other, challenged each other, but most importantly loved each other and showed that the most important relationship in one’s life doesn't always have to be romantic.

More: 'Grey's' Season Finale Serves Up Emotion With A Side of Heartbreak

With Cristina gone, it’s hard to imagine how Meredith will survive or how the audience will be able to cope with her character alone. Although the show’s namesake, Meredith has never been the most likeable character on television and not in a badass anti-hero way like Cristina. Instead Meredith can be downright annoying and we needed Cristina there to balance things out. With Meredith flying solo, the show might have a difficult task trying to keep audiences sympathetic to the character.

Sandra OhFarewell Cristina Yang

Shonda Rhimes and the rest of the 'Grey’s' team gave Cristina Yang the best possible send off. We’d watched her grow and develop as both a person and surgeon for the past decade and her decision to further follow her dreams and leave Seattle behind was exactly what we would have wanted for her. But it’s hard to imagine where the show can go from here. Meredith might be feeling the pain having lost her ‘person',  but so are we. For the 'Grey's' audience, the loss of Yang might just be one tragedy we can't recover from.


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